Shelterforce Staff

Shelterforce Staff
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San Antonio Mayor Plucked For HUD

President Obama on Friday announced his new pick for HUD Secretary: San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.Current...

Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

We first met Darren Walker about 15 years ago while planning an issue on faith-based development. Darren was the chief operating officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, the storied community development arm of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. We asked Darren to write an article that was not simply a cheerleader’s promotion of church-based CDCs, but a realistic assessment of the benefits and challenges to an institution embarking on that path.

Darren was optimistic and enthusiastic about the work he was doing at Abyssinian creating hundreds of units of affordable housing in Harlem. But he was pragmatic and realistic also. His article encouraged organizations to temper the enthusiasm necessary to even consider this work with a realistic analysis of an organization’s capacities and a clear-eyed examination of their assumptions about the rewards of creating a CDC.

Darren approached his work enthusiastically, I think, because he had visceral understanding of the challenges low-income folks had and the opportunities that were available to them with the right help. The kind of help that the stability of an affordable home could provide. His understanding came from personal experience that would inform his work wherever it took him, from law school to international finance, from a storefront afterschool program and Abyssinian to the Rockefeller and Ford foundations.

When we sat down with Darren on March 18 to conduct this interview, we were glad to see that enthusiasm, optimism, and pragmatism were as strong as ever as he starts his leadership of one of the world’s largest foundations.

Impact Investing Resources

If you want to explore impact investing further, here are some places to start.

Here’s How HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program Could Be Better

We know that where families live can seriously effect their quality of life. Many predictors of health, education, and financial...
One-pager shows a repeating image of a manufactured home down the center, with myths on the left about why they are bad, and facts on the right. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Are manufactured homes a bad form of affordable housing?

A: Not any more! There are many myths out there about manufactured (or "mobile") homes, but in fact they can be a very important source of quality affordable housing...

Thank you!

We want to thank the many people who helped us put together this issue. We’re always grateful to our authors who share their insights and expertise. The people listed below guided us through the complexities of trying to understand a relatively new field so that we could frame the right questions. Most of the people listed below participated in a large advisory meeting we held on the topic hosted by our good friends at the Ford Foundation, others spoke with us in the weeks and months that followed. Everyone’s help was invaluable to us, but we’d like to note a few people for special thanks. We also compiled a resource guide with some additional impact investing-related organizations and reports that deserve your attention.

What Is Philanthropic Equity? A Roundtable Discussion

As we prepared this issue, the term "philanthropic equity" kept surfacing. What is this new concept in philanthropy, and how is it different from both traditional grantmaking and program-related investments? In December we gathered a group of people from foundations and nonprofit intermediaries to explore the concept, its promises and pitfalls.

“Money Must Serve, not Rule!”

In November 2013, Morgan Stanley launched its Institute for Sustainable Investing and announced that within five years it was aiming to manage $10 billion...

Agreement Reached on Housing Finance Reform Bill

Yesterday, the senate announced an agreement on a housing finance reform proposal that would likely wind down Fannie Mae and...

Advocate, Activist, or Affected, Join the “Can’t Wait List”

Here at Shelterforce we love telling stories.So today we're sharing the latest from the Homes for...

Poetry Slams Conditions of Richmond’s Public Housing

When poetry and investigative reporting combine, the results are fantastic.PBS recently featured a collaboration between the...

Watch These Panelists Explain What’s Missing in the GSE Reform Debate

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition last week brought together a panel of experts to discuss the future of housing...
A four-person family stands in a maze leading to a house. Around the maze are various answers to the question "Why doesn't the market produce enough affordable housing?" Image links to a pdf version.

Q: Why doesn’t the market produce enough affordable housing where people want it?

A: The market is supposed to meet demand, but the importance of location, location, location, plus other factors, keep this from working for affordable housing.

The Long Road from Harmony Oaks to C.J. Peete: Full Report

The full length version of NHI's Harmony Oaks report by Katy Reckdahl is now available here. If you want to read the Shelterforce article excerpted from the report, you can read that here.

The report was produced with the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the C.S. Mott Foundation.

Also check out Leila Fiester's complementary report Investing in New Orleans: Lessons for Philanthropy in Public Housing Redevelopment published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Inside Gentrification: The Emotional, Physical, and Financial Implications

The following is a condensed conversation between practitioners and thinkers about gentrification sparked from a blog post about neighborhood revitalization on Rooflines. With so...

Eminent Domain to Save Homes?

They're back.Mortgage Resolution Partners has joined with another California city, Richmond this time, pushing a plan...

What Is Gentrification, Anyway?

Say the word “gentrification” in a room of community development practicioners and you're likely to get a cacophony of responses.Alan Mallach sparked a debate...
One-pager starts with "Does affordable housing lower property values? No!" Image shows 56 green document icons, 5 striped, and 1 gray to represent research that found positive, mixed, or negative effects and a map of the United States with dots to represent where those studies took place. Includes citations. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Does affordable housing development lower nearby property values?

A. No. No. No. Is 56 studies enough no for you?

The Regional/Local Dance

Q & A with Kimberley Burnett

The Value of the Local Touch

Last November, we surveyed readers about what they thought the rise of high-capacity nonprofit housing developers meant for neighborhood-based community developers that use real...

Why Is Housing Development So Central to CDCs?

We asked our readers why they thought housing development had become so central to community development. While over three-quarters responded that it’s because it...

HUD: Minorities Shown Fewer Homes, Apartments Than Whites

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this month released its report on Housing Discrimination Against Racial...

What Does It Mean for a Neighborhood to be Stable?

What should be the focus of a neighborhood stabilization program? It's an ongoing topic of conversation within community development...

Shelterforce Asks: Should Rep. Watt Take the Helm of the FHFA?

As Senate Democrats and Republicans gear up to battle over President Obama's nomination of Rep. Mel Watts (D-N.C.) to...

More Voices on NYCHA Private Development Plans

We've had a good discussion here on Rooflines about NYCHA's plan to build things on the open space in its...

Achieving Reinvestment: NCRC’s 2013 Award Winners

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition presented its 2013 National Achievement Awards to leaders in expanding fair access to financial...

Budget Reaction Roundup: Social Security Cuts Dominate

Reaction to Obama's proposed FY 2014 is coming in fast and, in some cases, furious. We're seeing mixed feedback...

Could “Loft Home” Conversions Make Rust Belt Rehab Pencil Out?

A few weeks ago, Alan Mallach wrote on Rooflines about the mismatch between the buildings built for families of another...

Review: Learning from San Francisco’s Housing Movement

Do you wish your city had rent control, inclusionary housing, and a new permanent source of affordable housing funding? ...

Review: Born on Third Base

Woody Widrow reviews the United for a Fair Economy (UFE) report Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says...

Breaking: DeMarco May Go

This just in from NCRC: “Word is that President Obama has asked, get this, Rep....

Gale Cincotta Reminds Us: The Next Move Is Always Ours

We have a review up by Ted Wysocki of Gale Force, the biography of Gale Cincotta. Cincotta is the legendary (in our field at...

Now File Fair Housing Complaints on the Go

There's an app for fair housing now.That's right. HUD has released an app that allows you...

Commission Says End Fannie and Freddie, Make a Public Guarantor

The Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission released its report, Housing America's Future, on housing policy this morning....
A drawing of a house with a red roof and a red path leading from door is accompanied by text explaining reasons why shared-equity homeownership makes sense in weak-market areas. Image links to pdf version.

Q: What’s the point of shared-equity homeownership in weak market areas?

Shared-equity homeownership is best known as a tool to fight displacement in hot-market areas. But in fact, it has many advantages in weak-market areas too.

Not Just for School Kids

All across our communities are wonderful parks, fields, and playgrounds … behind locked fences, or marked with big warning signs that they are only...

Ballin’ at the graveyard

The documentary Ballin’ at the Graveyard looks at the hardball culture and strong supportive ties between players that have brought two generations of...

Where Community Is at Work Making Itself

Creating and proctecting third places in low-income communities. A conversation with May Louie, Neeraj Mehta, Ken Reardon, and Chuck Wolfe.

Update: Atlanta Beltline

In our Winter 2010 issue, we published a series of articles about the Atlanta Beltline, a rail loop surrounded by multiuse trails that is...

HUD Regs Change May Hurt Local Housing Groups

Even before the much discussed (and critiqued) Washington Post “exposé” on the federal HOME program in 2011, HUD officials were purportedly concerned that too...

596 Acres creates tools to help neighbors “Find the lot of their lives” by:

making municipal information about vacant public land available online through a searchable map and on the ground by placing signs that explain a lot’s...

Bending the Arc Toward Justice

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often said that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards...

Links Roundup: Independent Foreclosure Review Scrapped for New Settlement

The Independent Foreclosure Review has been scrapped for a new $8.5 billion settlement with the banks. These articles describe the...

Occupy Our Homes Alive and Kicking

If you didn't get a chance to yet, check out the roundup of Occupy Our Homes' 2nd day of action...

In Memoriam: Jon Kest

Jon Kest, director of New York Communities for Change, a founder of the Working Families Party, and former head organizer...

Housing and Community Development Election Analysis Roundup

HousingWire says no big changes for housing industry, thinks administration will not actually remove FHFA acting director Ed DeMarco, as it...

HUD Announces Diaster Assistance

HUD has announced disaster assistance for those affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut....

Public Housing, Private Property

1070 Washington Avenue in the Morrisania section of the Bronx sounds like just another address, but it’s notable for being the home of a...
Does shared-equity homeownership build assets? Yes. And keeps them safer than traditional homeownership does. Various graphs and charts follow to back up this assertion. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Does shared-equity homeownership build assets?

A: Yes! And keeps them safer than traditional homeownership does.

The Housing Crisis and the Landscape of Affordable Housing

As home prices continue to fall, the notion that the real estate market will allow for lower-income families to secure affordable housing increases. But...

Are Planners Responsible for Public Health?

Could planners have an effect on waistlines around the Beltway? Maryland’s Prince George’s County and Virginia’s Fairfax County are examining how land use and...

Who Owns Our Neighborhoods?

Outside investors are buying up foreclosed properties in Oakland, Calif., at a rate that not only has Oakland residents uneasy, but has also raised...

Preserving Boston’s Triple-Deckers

Boston’s 9,000 three-family, or “triple-decker,” houses are trademarks of the city’s housing stock and have long provided shelter to the city’s working class and...

Webinar: Are Our Neighborhoods Making Us Sick?

Inadequate housing conditions—the presence of lead, radon, water leaks, poor ventilation, pollution or mold—are linked to poor health. But research also shows that even...

Healthy by Design

Can America’s most populous county design its way to better physical health and lower obesity rates? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave...

Florida Flipper Nabbed in Cleveland

The head of a sham financial corporation was arrested late last year for illegally flipping hundreds of homes in several Ohio counties, including Cuyahoga...

Urban Reprisal

Cities are growing again, with young people increasingly interested in moving to more walkable communities. And it’s not just traditionally hot market cities that...

Putting “Silent Pickpockets” on Notice

Discriminatory lending practices are a “silent pickpocket” skulking among unsuspecting borrowers, said Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at the National...

The Six Steps to an HIA

A health impact assessment is a six-step, systematic approach to assessing the likely health consequences — good and bad — of a proposed action....
Did the housing crisis prove that low-income people can't be successful homeowners? No! Infographic follows showing delinquency and foreclosure rates for two at-scale low-income homeownership lending programs, which are below the general population. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Did the housing crisis prove low-income people can’t be successful homeowners?

No! Two at-scale, long-term lending programs show that if the process is done right, low-income homeowners can be as successful as prime borrowers--or more.

Don’t Dump on Us

As an environmental studies major in college, I found myself as part of a cohort within the department that was concerned with the relationships...

Health and Community Development Resources

If you want to explore the intersection of health and community development further, here are some places to start.

A Balanced Goal: Affordable Housing for Renters and Homeowners

This post was submitted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition as part of a blog series hosted by Rooflines,...

The Housing Crisis and the Landscape of Affordable Housing

As home prices continue to fall, the notion that the real estate market will allow for lower-income families to secure affordable housing increases. But it's not so cut and dried. How much a home costs is only one of many factors when determining affordability. In March 2012, Shelterforce hosted a roundtable discussion featuring leading research and policy experts to explore those various components of affordability looking at just how the housing crisis changed the affordable housing landscape in the United States.

What’s Next in Arts & Economic Development

There’s something you should know about me:  I’m a professional amateur.  For the past seven years I’ve been co-writing and...

Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods: Q&A with Elyse Cherry

Boston Community Capital's SUN program has gotten a lot of media attention. How is it working and what's next?

Capital Markets & Neighborhood Stabilization: Introducing the New Issue

Mark Calabria, the director of financial services regulation at the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, said recently that while “there are disagreements over the...

Changing the Conversation

The Occupy movement’s National Day of Action to Stop Foreclosures on December 6th and the increased focus on housing issues that it launched have...

Breaking the Bank

On November 5, 2011, Bank of America had just withdrawn their threat to levy a monthly debit card fee, the major lenders were under...

Taking the Long View in Texas

What kind of city does Austin want to be? According to Imagine Austin, a new comprehensive city plan, it could someday be considerably different...

Do Foreclosures Make Us Sick?

New research shows a direct correlation between foreclosure and hospitalization, adding another way that foreclosures have a disparate effect on low-income communities and communities...

QRM’s Downstream Effect

The discussion around how to define a qualified residential mortgage (QRM) has dragged on for over a year now, with no end in sight....

QRM’s Downstream Effect

The discussion around how to define a qualified residential mortgage (QRM) has dragged on for over a year now, with no end in sight....

What Can FHFA Learn from the Banks’ Big Mistakes?

This post, submitted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, is part of an ongoing series based on the National...

Report: Spending Half of Income on Housing

According to the new Housing Landscape 2012 report from the Center for Housing Policy, nearly one in four working...

Webinar: Can Lease Purchase Save Us?

As developers struggle to find buyers for rehabbed affordable homes, many are looking to a lease-purchase model to expand the...

Still Transforming Rental Assistance

HUD, in light of a recent capital needs study, will conduct a “rental assistance demonstration” rather than complete programmatic implementation of its Preserving, Enhancing,...

Extending a Bank Branch to the Community

The systemic closing of bank branches in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods is followed by payday lenders, pawnshops, and check cashing services stepping in to fill the void.

What Affordable Housing Enforcement?

In 2010, N.J. Governor Chris Christie introduced legislation to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing, the enforcement body for New Jersey’s fair share affordable...

(Land) Bank of America?

“What we now have taking place in Cleveland is an ‘REO Race’,” wrote Frank Ford in our Fall/Winter 2009 issue, describing a “tsunami” of...

Uncle Sam Outdone by Ocwen’s SAM

This summer, mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial Corp. officially launched a mortgage principal reduction program for homeowners with negative equity — one of the first...

Bank Fees of a Different Kind

A proposed bank accountability bill in California that had received considerable national attention has suffered something of a set back, but that doesn’t mean...

How Do You Choose?

How do community developers whose goals include neighborhood revitalization identify which businesses or other non-residential tenants (library, healthcare center) are likely to create the most positive momentum in a given area? It’s certainly more art than science. We asked a few long-time community developers for their thoughts.

Massachusetts CDCs

Massachusetts CDCs generated over $1 billion in economic investment from 2007 to 2010 — Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations’ annual Growing Opportunities, Assets,...

Where Are They Now?

Shelterforce was founded in 1975 in East Orange, N.J., by a collective of tenant advocates and organizers. Where are those collective members now?*John Atlas**,...

1975 Was a Good Year

We're not the only 36-year-old in town. Here is a small sampling of other 36th birthdays taking place this year:

What’s in Store for PETRA?

At the time it was unveiled last year, the Obama administration’s Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation of Rental Assistance Act, or PETRA (see SF, Summer...

What’s in Store for PETRA?

At the time it was unveiled last year, the Obama administration’s Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation of Rental Assistance Act, or PETRA (see SF, Summer...

Housing Counseling in Crisis

In April, when the so-called budget compromise for continued FY2011 funding was reached, the entire $88 million HUD Housing Counseling budget was left in...

Fighting for the Trust Fund

When we reported earlier this year on the often-frustrating saga of finding a legislative home for the as yet unfunded National Housing Trust Fund...

The Spring Issue of Shelterforce Is Here!

Fair Housing: The Work Continues and the Vision Expands is the theme of our cover package in our Spring 2011 issue as we explore...

A Windfall for Los Angeles Landlords “Burdened” with Rent Control

A Los Angeles councilman says rent control places undue burdens on landlords and proposes a plan to reduce their tax burden.

The Rising Tide of Bank Protests

Despite Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, distrust for the banking industry in the United States remains palpable, and now we’re beginning to...

Sounding the GSE Death Knell

Last year, then-chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank told Shelterforce, regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, “the model of a private...

NCRC Files Fair Lending Complaints

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition has filed complaints with HUD against dozens of lenders who have set minimum borrower credit scores as high as...

Funding the Fund?

The president has included $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund in his FY12 HUD budget, as he did in FY10 and FY11,...

A HOME of a Different Name

In December, the Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act was introduced with moderate fanfare in an unusually active lame duck session of Congress. Unfortunately, HOME,...

Beyond the Cover Lines: Affordable Housing & TOD

Transit-oriented development has long been a buzz-worthy concept in planning and community development circles, and while there have been real successes in creating affordable...

Shelterforce Interview: Ron Sims

HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims doesn't just want the 8,500 employees he oversees at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to do their jobs: he wants them to challenge themselves, even if there's a risk of failure.

Shelter for the Homeless in the Emerald City?

In Seattle, a mayor-appointed citizens’ panel has concluded that the city should put a permanent homeless encampment on city land and make certain parks...